You remember that dizzying “snow” or static that took over your TV whenever your broadcast was interrupted? If you can remember back before the days of digital television, you should be able to picture it. That’s called white space, and it is now being harnessed as a way to send wi-fi signals into rural areas.
Researchers who are exploring the possibility of using white space being used as a rural broadband network did their first trial run of the technology this week. And the first thing they did? Send out a tweet.
The tweet itself was nothing fancy, but it does put the Cambridge Consultants Twitter account (@CambConsultants) on the map, especially if white space technology begins to be used as a widespread solution to the lack of rural broadband internet connections.
As Cambridge Consultants explains, they used the white space TV frequencies (which technically is the unused spectrum between TV signals) to deliver wireless broadband internet to a small village in Cambridgeshire which previously had no internet access whatsoever. They had to set up the internet technology in such a way that it wouldn’t interfere with the local TV signals, and were able to successfully broadcast the signal from their headquarters to the village 6 kilometers away.
Richard Traherne, head of wireless at Cambridge Consultants, has this to say about white space technology:
“We believe that White Space, as a pioneering cognitive radio wireless technology, has the potential to change the way that people communicate, especially in rural areas. It has a wide range of applications, from healthcare to home working, and we expect to see these and other exciting applications emerge in the near future.”
Sending a tweet over white space shows that it is a viable technology for rural areas not only to access static web pages, but real-time networks as well. The team also tested out YouTube and Skype video successfully on the white space broadband network.